TCEA: Oh hai, San Antonio! #tcea


Just when you wonder how a conference can make you rethink your coaching and teaching, TCEA says, “Hold my USB.” I am truly grateful to have been able to not only explore new and familiar tools, but to see an amazing new city and with the best colleague a gal could ask for, Darcy Grimes. Having a buddy to process new learning is so important. From “I didn’t know that?!” to “Well, I would do it like this..” having someone bounce around ideas helps make learning more meaningful and has me re-energized to try new things.

Here’s what I want to try:

  1. Revisit Google’s Be Internet Awesome Materials in order to support students with internet safety + cyberbullying. We used some of these last year, but I haven’t used the materials since. I also like the Google Slides that come free for teachers to use! Darcy and I were able to explore a pop-up museum that week that students could interact with the different parts of being safe on the internet. It was awesome and I wish our students could have access to it! Google admins can just add the Interland game to the Chromebook taskbar.

2. Create VR/AR experiences with Google Tour Creator: Our school will be celebrating its 100th anniversary and it would be great if we create a virtual tour to highlight some of its history. I would like to start creating some VR tours in order to then have students add researched information about it as well.

3. Learn how to use the Ozobot Evo Robot and utlize the lesson plans available for the Ozobot Bit Robots we have: I wanted to learn more about how to go beyond the basics with Ozobot and the session I attended did not disappoint. I loved the ideas they had on integrating it with social studies and ELA. I also learned you don’t have to draw a square to help your robot move-circles work fine! At the end, I also was super lucky and WON an Ozobot Evo, which does a few more nifty things than our Bits do. I can’t wait to keep exploring this!

4. Claxton’s Got Talent! One bit of feedback we received from our Family Voices Nights is that many families can’t always come to the events at school, but would like to see what happens. There was a request for a Facebook Live event, which I have been reluctant to do for a few reasons: 1. It’s live. 2. I don’t want to be the social media person for every event nor do I want it to be expected of me at every event. 3. It makes some people uncomfortable. BUT I did see an example of how it can be utilized to feature our students. Our kids LOVE the talent show, but it is also a pain because it is time consuming to have a variety show at the end of the year. The session I attended had great ideas, including a weekly talent featured by a student so that it can be shared throughout the year and with families. Families would sign a special agreement to consent to their student being shown and the end of year variety show can stay within reasonable parameters.

5. Sketchnoting! I finally took the time to play around with sketchnoting. I love to doodle and I just haven’t taken the time to explore tools that can be used for educational purposes. There was a recent post in the Google for Ed NC group that shared drawing tools for Chromebooks, but haven’t tried it myself. It turns out you have time your hands when you’re on a plane and don’t want to listen to the podcasts you’ve downloaded. I really liked using Google Keep for both of these sketches:

It was also nice to go through the process during a session and it turns out I really have a hard time sketching WHILE a session is happening. There’s just too much information coming at me that I lose most of it when I start to focus on one part of my doodle. So, how would I use it instead? As a recap of the week or lesson! After the lesson has happened, then provide time and space to sketch out the main ideas or concepts learned. This allows for time to process, but also let’s your inner artist have the freedom to create without worrying about missing something. Search #sketchnoting to see how others have used it.

Whew! There were other amazing tips and tricks along the way, including accessibility features and how to make a Gif with Google Slides.

On our last day there, Darcy and I presented a poster session on how to make global connections with “Ditch Your Permission Slips and Connect Globally!” We loved talking with other educators about different ways their classrooms can connect with others using free tools such as Skype for Education, Flipgrid, Empatico and Exploring by the Seat of Your Pants. Thank you to everyone who took the time to listen and share!

Overall, I had a great week, but my brain is full and I’m ready to see my teachers and students next week 🙂 If you ever get the chance to visit San Antonio, I highly recommend this beautiful city!

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